Let the games begin

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Pg 20/21: All the thrills of the Brodick Highland Games

One of the most anticipated events of the year, the Brodick Highland Games, is all set to thrill a local and international audience at Ormidale Park today (Saturday).

Kicking off in fine style the games start with the traditional march of the pipe bands who make their way from the pier to the showground at 11am. This year, in addition to the Isle of Arran Pipe Band, and those from Kilbarchan, Maybole and the Isle of Cumbrae, the Isle of Arran Schools’ Pipe Band will be performing for the first time, in what will be only their third public appearance.

Highland dancers will entertain the crowds, starting at 11am, when they compete in the Highland Dance Competition, both in their dress and finely rehearsed dance routines.

On offer for spectators and participants will be the children’s fancy dress competition which will start at 1pm shortly after which the track events will take place. The track events start with children’s races continues with the adult events. These are followed by the popular pillow fights before concluding with the popular tug of war in the afternoon.

The highlight for many though, who view it as the main event, is the heavy events which start at 12noon, and which will see some of the strongest athletes taking on some of the toughest traditional challenges, including caber tossing, weight and hammer throwing. And they will see the return of Arran strongwoman Yvonne Currie, who made her debut last year.

The penultimate event, the Special Challenge Caber, will undoubtedly be a visual spectacle and a huge challenge for the participants when the extra heavy caber is brought out.

The final event, and certainly one worth watching is the Local Heros Strongman Competition which includes dragging an anvil, flipping tractor tyres and the dreaded Stones of Density.

In addition to all of the sights and sounds to behold, there will also be a number of stalls to browse, and a selection of food and drink stalls to satisfy every taste.

Following the presentation of the trophies, visitors can follow the procession of the pipe bands as they make their way to the ferry at 6pm where they have one final performance before receive a fitting musical send-off from the Arran Pipe Band as the visitors depart on the 7.2opm ferry.

The march is guaranteed to be a visual feast for the eyes as Brodick organisations along Shore Road have been requested to display colourful bunting outside of their stores to brighten up the route and to add to the festive spirit.

Brodick Highland Games have been held in the village since 1886 with the exception of the two World Wars and a few occasions thereafter, the lastwhen the Ormidale Park was being upgraded in 1996, and it has continued to be a highlight for many and an occasion that can best be described as unmissable.

Admission for the games costs £4 and children under 14 are free, entries for the events can be accepted on the day just prior to the event.

Entrants compete in the tyre flip heat of the Strongman competition. 01_B32games22-1024×680

The mass pipe bands play to a big crowd. 01_B32games09-1024×680

Girls go flat out in one of the children’s races. 01_B32games13-1024×680

The Highland dancers competition in full swing. 01_B32games23-1024×680

A competitor throws the weight for distance. 01_B32games15-1024×680

Making it look easy, a competitor throws the hammer.01_B32games31